kartik fine arts Music

Extraordinary voice

Amrutha Sankaranarayanan performing at Karthik Fine Arts. Photo: S. Madhuvanthi

Amrutha Sankaranarayanan performing at Karthik Fine Arts. Photo: S. Madhuvanthi  

All it needs is a little finesse to make the rendition more enjoyable.

A recent article, “Is music genetic or not?” was still fresh in my mind when I attended the concert of the daughter and disciple of the great vocalist, T.V. Sankaranarayanan. Last year, I had occasion to listen to her and sincerely felt that she had, to a great extent, succeeded in breaking the mould. I stand by it.

For any artist to make a mark, a unique style is a must. This is easier said than done. For, the parental influence or the guru’s inspiration is incredibly potent. Amrutha Sankaranarayanan has imbibed several strong aspects of her father and of her great grand guru Madurai Mani Iyer in the rendering of songs and even in her hand-gestures. Apart from the genes, the ethos in which one grows up plays an effective role in an artist’s performance.

This year her concert was featured at Kartik Fine Arts. Her expansive swaraprasthara in Durbar, Valaji, Shanmukhapriya and Sankarabharanam were musically rich and varied. Even her pacy swaras were lucid and precise, pointing to her expertise. Each swara brought out the raga bhava clearly. And, throughout the concert, she did not indulge in a single ‘kanakku’ swaram or korvai, although Amrutha is in total control of layam too. Her sarvalaghu swarams of myriad combinations were melodic to the core and tuneful to the ears. She could lull the rasikas into a state of enchantment. All these are typical of MMI and TVS. Along with these, her innovative skill too came to the fore impressively.

She is endowed with a forceful (at times aggressive!) voice to which she has competently added musical elegance. It traverses all three octaves with ease. The way she touches the ‘uchasthayi’ panchamam is a delight to discerning listeners. I said ‘aggressive’. Yes, I would strongly suggest to her to moderate her style so that she doesn’t strain her extraordinary voice beyond limits. All that is required is to put in a bit more of finesse to the force of her voice, which is conspicuous in the higher octave sancharas.

Amrutha’s skill in bringing out the spirit of the composition deserves mention. This was evident in Tyagaraja’s ‘Munduvenuka,’ Muthiah Bhagavatar’s ‘Jalandhara,’ Patnam Subramania Iyer’s ‘Marivere’ and in Syama Sastri’s ‘Sarojadalanetri.’ Tyagaraja’s rarely heard composition ‘Pathiki Harathire’ in Surutti was yet another gem.

R. Raghul (violin) excelled in alapana, swaraprastaras and in accompaniment. His interpretation of Valaji was exquisite. N.C. Bharadwaj (mridangam) and Anirudh Athreya (ganjira) who provided powerful support to the vocalist offered a crisp tani avarthanam, which was in total consonance with the composition. The tisra nadai was lilting. The piece that went on ringing in my ears for hours after the concert was Periyasaami Thooran’s ‘Kaliyugavaradan’ (Brindavana Saranga).

(ramakrishnan.h @gmail.com)

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:40:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Extraordinary-voice/article11595868.ece

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